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Outgoing NTU president to students: See you in Sweden

SINGAPORE — Marking his last convocation as president of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Professor Bertil Andersson said he was proud of the university’s rapid progress during his tenure and looked forward to meeting Singaporean students even after returning to Sweden.

Outgoing NTU president to students: See you in Sweden

Professor Bertil Andersson says he will take on various advisory roles back in Sweden. Photo: NTU

SINGAPORE — Marking his last convocation as president of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Professor Bertil Andersson said he was proud of the university’s rapid progress during his tenure and looked forward to meeting Singaporean students even after returning to Sweden.

“For me personally, this is a special convocation,” he said to about 1,700 graduates, their relatives and faculty members at the Nanyang Auditorium yesterday.

The 69-year-old renowned plant biochemist was chief executive of the European Science Foundation before joining NTU as provost in 2007. He became its third president in July 2011. “Today, NTU is firmly established as a world-class university, and its global reputation attracts world-acclaimed professors, researchers and scholars, as well as top-level national and international students,” he said.

The university was 11th in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2018 released in June, overtaking the National University of Singapore and achieving the highest ranking any Asian university has ever reached.

It ranked 39th in 2014 and 13th in 2015 and last year. NTU was recently ranked the top young university below 50 years of age for the fourth consecutive year by QS.

The university’s facilities have also grown. The new Novena medical campus of NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, the biggest academic building in Singapore, will “provide top-level and modern clinical training for the medical students”, he said.

Prof Andersson told students: “The increased reputation will facilitate (your) getting a good job, but the reputation will also increase the employer’s expectation.”

Two in three graduates in the 9,595-strong class of 2017 have secured jobs before graduation — a testament to “the high standing of NTU graduates with employers”.

His successor American scientist Subra Suresh will take over from Jan 1 next year and Prof Andersson said NTU “is going to have a very strong leadership for the future”.

Prof Andersson will likely return to Sweden, where he will take on various advisory roles.

Besides being adviser to the Swedish government, he will sit on the board of several universities and academic organisations including the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

“It’s interesting because that’s one of the favourite universities for Singaporean students to go to (because) Singaporean students like to go to cold places,” he said. “I look forward, when I’m on the board at KTH, to meet Singapore students in Sweden. That’s going to be nice.” Joey Chua Xue Ting

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